Hanging Gajalakshmi Lamp

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Size: 8 x 8 x 43 inches
Medium: Bronze
Origin: Kerala


This hanging or standing cast bronze Gajalakshmi oil lamp with a chain is from Kerala. Gajalakshmi means Lakshmi with elephants (gaja) and is an enduring auspicious theme in Indian art. This is one of the most significant aspects of the Goddess Lakshmi, where she is depicted flanked on both sides by elephants. She is shown as seated in yogic posture holding a lotus in each hand. The elephants flanking her have raised trunks blessing her. This is probably referring to the puranic texts that said when Lakshmi was born ‘elephants of the skies taking up their pure waters in vases of gold, poured them over the goddess, the queen of the universal world’. Above Gajalakshmi is a prabhavali with decorative bronze button shapes, and above this is a second prabhavali depicting repeating hamsas. Hamsa, a divine swan, is revered by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. It is seen as a symbol of purity, detachment and divine knowledge. Hamsa symbolizes the highest spiritual accomplishment as it swims in water, walks on earth and flies in the sky. The prabhavali continues below the circular oil pan, down to the ring foot where two yalis (protective guardians) are depicted on either side.
The ancient art of lost-wax casting dates back nearly 6000 years in India. First, an artist creates an original model from wax. Everything is then encased with layers of clay, thus becoming a mould for the molten metal that will be poured inside it. When this is poured in, the wax melts and the original is lost. Once the metal hardens, the outer layer of clay is smashed, which is what makes each piece unique.
The size of the lamp is 8 x 8 x 43 inches when the chain is fully extended. When not extended, the height is 11 inches.